Saturday, July 19, 2014

A Mole

Kodi and I were heading into College Woods in Durham yesterday morning, when a hairy-tailed mole scurried across the parking lot behind us. It moved fast despite its very short legs as it nosed under leaves and branches in search of insects and other small prey. It is not often that I see a live mole, busying itself above ground during the day.

I captured a bit of its travels on my iPhone, but it was too fast for static pictures. About a month ago the dogs and I found a dead mole on one of our woodland walks. This too was a hairy-tailed mole. In the following pictures (of the dead mole), you can see the wonderful adaptations for living mostly undergound: huge front feet turned sideways to the body, like shovels, for digging, no external ears and small eyes since they are moving about in dark tunnels. Their long pointed nose helps them find food.
You can i.d. this mole by its short, hairy tail. The other two moles found around here are the star-nosed mole, which has a crazy star-shaped nose, and the eastern mole, which is bigger and has a naked tail.

I'm always happy to find a mole or see its tunnel activities, since they eat grubs, aerate the soil, and are rather cool looking.

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